The Accuracy of Self-Report of Physician Diagnosed Rheumatoid Arthritis in Moderately to Severely Disabled Older Women. Women's Health and Aging Collaborative Research Group

J Rheumatol. 2000 Jun;27(6):1390-4.


Objective: To determine the accuracy of self-report of physician diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in moderately to severely disabled older women.

Methods: A total of 1002 participants in the Women's Health and Aging Study were included. These women were > or =65 years old, had an average of 4 chronic illnesses, and represented the one-third most disabled women living in the community. Self-report of a physician's diagnosis of RA was compared to cases of "definite" RA that were adjudicated using an algorithm modeled on the American College of Rheumatology criteria for RA.

Results: The sensitivity of self-report of physician diagnosed RA was 77%, with 90.6% specificity and 99% negative predictive value, kappa = 0.46. The positive predictive value was 34% and likely reflected the low prevalence of RA in this sample (3.1%). Five of the 6 women who did not correctly report RA were under the care of a rheumatologist.

Conclusion: The accuracy of self-report of a physician's diagnosis of RA in this sample of disabled women with multiple chronic illnesses matched that observed in the general adult population of previous studies. Accuracy was enhanced by including report of receiving care by a rheumatologist.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / rehabilitation*
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rheumatology / standards*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Women's Health


  • Antirheumatic Agents